Thursday, January 06, 2011

Slow snail mail

Very often it seems that transatlantic mail is weeks on end about arriving, either way. It is silly, when UPs can do it in one day.

Twenty years ago I wrote a letter to the Danish postmaster general. He agreed that transatlantic mail takes way too long, and said they are trying to work with the US postal service to improve it. Apparently it's a long project, or maybe they have only improved it with Denmark, not here in the UK.       :-)


Alex said...

You have a choice of how snailish you want your mail. I can get letters, normal letter class airmail to the UK to a rural address in about 48 hours, 72 at the outside. This works for some parcels too.

For surface mail it can take 6-10 weeks. I am sure some of this is the 4-6 days by train from coast to coast, and probably a week or two for the transatlantic crossing. The rest of the time must be in consolidating mail into the container to ship, and then re-consolidating at each shipping hub.

UK to US seems much slower the US to UK.

Roger B. said...

@ Eolake: "Twenty years ago I wrote a letter to the Danish postmaster general"
You mean his reply has only just arrived?

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

LOL, no, it came perhaps a week later. I just thought it illustrated that there's been a situation for a long time.

Dunno how you do it Alex. Granted, the variation is great, but I'm sure letters and parcels to me from the US take on the average a lot more than two days, by airmail.

Christmas and weather does not help. I'm currently waiting for two different small parcels which were sent off from the US around 3-4 weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Packages take longer due to security concerns. Letters also get eradicated, I think.

One problem with foreign mail is addressing. Which language do you address? The originating language or the destination language? Either way, one post office is going to have more issues than the other.

Then there's the matter of writing. Styles differ widely within a country, but most definitely differ across national borders. The European stylish "one" looks a lot like a sloppy American "seven"

While we see packages arrive overnight, rather than expect that service all the time, we ought to be amazed by it. Imagine writing overseas letters when the transport was a sailing ship and delivery by horse carriage. Months were common.

Anonymous said...

Letters from Germany to Scandinavia and vice versa normally take two days. From Germany to France, or the other way round, usually takes two weeks. Makes me wonder where they store them all this time.

Parcels sent by regular mail are more or less the same. Makes me wonder even more where they store all these parcels.


Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thanks, Anon, you have some good points.

Usually in my case, it's English-to-English either way, and typewritten addreses, also either way.